Good Samaritans come to woman's aid after her purse disappears on NYC trip
Bette O'Brien made it home to New Brunswick after her purse disappeared while on a trip to New York City, thanks to the kindness of strangers.
Published Tuesday, January 29, 2013 7:38PM AST
Last Updated Tuesday, January 29, 2013 7:45PM AST
What started out as a trip to forget turned into one Bette O’Brien will always remember.
After losing her purse on the streets of one of the busiest cities in the world, three acts of kindness got O’Brien and all of her belongings home to New Brunswick.
Like many tourists who visit the Big Apple, O’Brien took lots of pictures during a recent trip to New York City.
“It was an awesome city. You go around and look at all those buildings and all those people.”
However, O’Brien’s purse disappeared one day while she was admiring the city’s sights and sounds.
“Everything was in my purse, except my camera and six dollars.”
Her passport was gone, along with $550. While the money could be replaced, O’Brien was concerned about getting back home.
The bus she travelled on was leaving for Canada in two days and she was told it would take at least three days to replace her passport.
However, officials at the consulate pulled some strings.
“The next day I had to go back to the consulate and she said ‘you call us at 1:30 today and we’ll let you know whether you can go on that bus tomorrow or not,’” says O’Brien. “At 1:30 when I called her back she had the document ready for me.”
The other passengers on O’Brien’s bus tour took up a collection for her. She used the $700 for food and replacement travel documents, although she stayed out of stores, saying it wouldn’t have been right to go shopping because the money wasn’t really hers.
Thanks to the generousity of the bus tour passengers and the officials at the consulate, O’Brien managed to make it home to Nauwigewauk, where a third act of kindness was waiting for her.
“There was a message on the phone from Mastercard. I called them; a gentleman named Andrew had called and left his phone number. He had called them and told them he had my purse.”
He returned the purse to O’Brien, with its contents intact, and she has been trying, unsuccessfully, to get in touch him ever since.
As for the cash collected from her fellow bus tour passengers, she donated it to the Romero House Soup Kitchen in Saint John, saying it was the least she could do the pay the good deed forward.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Jonathan MacInnis